Cancer screening could move to Cheltenham from Bristol

A cancer screening service, based in Bristol, could move to Cheltenham.

A three-year contract for providing the service in Bristol has come to an end and Cheltenham General Hospital can offer screening at a lower cost.

Opponents of the move say some patients will face a 100 mile (160km) round trip for treatment.

The mobile positron emission tomography (Pet) scanner visits the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) three times a week.

'Mobile unit'

Dr Julian Kabala, consultant radiologist in Bristol said he felt it was important to have the service close to a major population centre.

"Easy access for patients from Bath and Weston-super-Mare rather than something that is less expensive but remote from the services," he said.

The positron emission tomorgraphy (Pet) scanner is housed in a mobile unit at the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI).

It can be used to detect cancers including those of the lung, colon, head and neck, and gives consultants a detailed three dimensional scan of the affected areas of the body.

Tumours not easily detected using other scanning techniques may now be found.

Professor Iain Lyburn, a consultant radiologist from Cheltenham, said the local hospital can offer a much better service.

"The Cheltenham site has the equipment in a building and therefore can offer scans five or six days a week so patients will potentially be scanned much quicker."

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